The morning after the infamous fatal 1987 Red Fox Tavern robbery one of the men on trial was asked by a family member if he had anything to do with it, a court has heard.
A man with name suppression and Mark Joseph Hoggart are on trial for the aggravated robbery and murder of its publican, Christopher Bush, in Waikato.
The Crown case is that two heavily disguised intruders, clad in balaclavas and gloves, burst in using a back door of the Maramarua tavern on October 24.
It is alleged one fired a sawn off double-barrelled shotgun killing Bush quickly before his three staff members were tied up.
It is further alleged the two men made off with cheques and cash to the value of just over $36,000 in the armed hold-up
Both accused men deny the charges.
Today, in the High Court at Auckland the unnamed defendant's brother-in-law gave evidence.
He said the unnamed defendant had stayed with him on a Napier vineyard for a short time in the late 80s after he was released from prison.
The accused had spent time in jail for an aggravated robbery in Auckland.
There was something of a family reunion organised for that long Labour weekend in October, 1987.
The brother-in-law said the unnamed accused arrived that Sunday morning, looking as if he had not slept.
As news broke of the fatal Red Fox Tavern robbery, the family heard a report on the radio, the court head.
The brother-in-law gave evidence that a family member asked the accused if that was "anything to do with you?"
The unnamed defendant's reply was no, followed with that was "bloody lovely", the court heard.
Earlier that same week, the brother-in-law said the accused and Charles Ross had turned up with a sawn-off shotgun asking if they could fire it off.
They took it to the end of the vineyard to practise fire a few rounds.
The shots were fired into a stump and also a steel drawer - it seemed a good gun for scaring off birds, the man had believed.
This afternoon the statement of Robyn Anna-May Pyle, who died in 2014, was read to the court.
On October 23, 1987, she had been working at the Maramarua dairy when a car pulled up outside about 8.45pm, parking at an angle that would have blocked some cars from exiting.
"I couldn't figure out why they stopped there. So I just stood watching what they were doing."
There were two people in the car, the court heard.
"The driver was looking over in the direction of the pub, really straining to see it."
They never even glanced her way, she said. "It was as if we weren't even there."
The driver was European in his early 20s with sandy-colour wavy hair who she also described as "average looking".
She could not make out the passenger's face but could see he had dark hair and was wearing black colouring.
"Their behaviour was really odd. The driver didn't take his eyes off the pub."
On October 26, Pyle saw what she believed to be the same car again.
Some time between 6.15pm and 6.30pm she had walked to a friend's place near work.
While there, she saw a car arrive by the dairy "exactly" like the one she saw on Friday night.
"I soon as I saw it I leapt up and said to the others 'It can't be, that's it'."
Again there were two males in the car, she said.
Pyle used binoculars to try and get the registration number but there was "definitely" no front licence plate.
It was a green-brown Vauxhall, she said.
The jury trial, presided over by Justice Woolford, continues tomorrow.